Friday I was feeling pretty down, so my friend Maria invited me out to a Mexican restaurant (in Japan? Really? Yes.) with some of her friends. It was expensive, but fun nonetheless. Pair that with a Saturday bowling excursion with my speaking partner and her friends (fun, but I managed to only score 24 points), and my bad mood was more than erased. That, plus copious amounts of chocolate! The Universe just seems to know when I need a pick-me-up, and provides me with what I need, be it fabulous host parents, fabulous friends, fabulous snacks, or fabulous experiences. In Oberlin I used to say that snickerdoodles are proof that God loves me, because whenever I was in a bad mood they’d magically appear in my life. Here there are no snickerdoodles, but God loves me nonetheless. (on another note, it seems my Okasan is psychic. I walk home from school and think “man, today would be a great day for some blahblah. And lo and behold, dinner that night is none other than blablah! Saturday evening she brought me a mini choco-cake, which was just what my hormonal-self needed, even though I hadn’t seen her since I left home on Friday morning!). I finished reading my book, The Devil’s Larder, and now my head’s all abuzz with ideas for writing.
Today was another example of how fabulous my host parents are: we went on a bike ride to Osaka Castle today. There’s a looooooooong bike trail and public park running the side of the Yodogawa (a man-made? river), so we just rode along it all day. It was such a nice day and so beautiful. Everyone and their mother was out enjoying the sunshine, playing sports, fishing, or picnicking under the last of the cherry blossoms. I got a couple of gnats in my eye (ew!) but aside from that the ride was brilliant! We even happened upon a Mongolian cultural festival! I forgot my camera, but managed to get some good photos with my phone, so I’ll be uploading them soon.
We bought lunch and ate it amongst some wisteria, listening to people chattering and playing sanshin and koto and flute, then continued on through busy downtown Osaka until we reached the castle. Okasan bought me a ticket so I was able to go inside, and it was SOOOOO incredible! The castle had been turned into a museum (8 floors! eek!), and it was filled to the brim with historical art and artifacts about the castle and its history. Most of the explanations were in English in addition to Japanese, Chinese, and Korean so I was able to browse pretty freely. I got to see Samurai armor, famous artwork and historical documents, historic pottery from Japan’s ancient history, and even a reconstruction of one ruler’s GOLDEN TEA HOUSE. Seriously, the guy built a small tea house covered in gold and red velvet. The only thing NOT made of gold or velvet was the tea whisk. That’s a lot of bling. Sadly I wasn’t allowed to take pictures inside, but I did get some great shots of the view from the top of the castle, and Okasan took lots of pictures with her camera that I’m sure she’ll post on facebook.
The ride home was…exhausting, and Otosan who rode in front (and who accidentally dyed his hair purple, BTW and was wearing a hat to hide it) has a habit of riding across streets and turning corners willy-nilly. I’m usually fine with it, but because I was tired after the hours long ride and walk, I ran into things twice. Nothing major, but it was a bit embarrassing.
Now I’m home, showered, and watching the Japanese dub of I AM LEGEND with Okasan, Manami, and Naoki. A scary end to a wonderful weekend. Co-incidentally, this was the first movie I watched in Oberlin’s one-screen movie theater “The Apollo” (if watching it through your hands counts), during my first winter term, which was my first Oberlin Main-stage play, where I met my first kiss. So, needless to say, I’m feeling a bit nostalgic…
My endorphins are buzzing around my body and I feel great. Except for the scary zombie movie in front of my face, of course.
Life is good.
My heart runneth over.
Birds in the sky, you know how I feel…